So in your words, the company didn't violate the CC-NC license?
Look, the artist has photography with a clear license agreement attached to the images. If a company goes off, and takes those images, replicates them for commercial use, and even "includes" the CC license in the 'pirated' images, then... the company itself already violated the agreed contract when they siphoned the images off the internet. (whether agreeing or not to the CC terms, they clearly knew about it, and just ignored the terms)
To me, small claims court would instantly rule in favor of the plaintive because the commercial use was a violation of the original use of the imagery.
Plus if you send the invoice to the company (certified letter), they don't respond within 30 days, you have the right to sue them. Whether they disagreed to the CC license terms, they took and used the artists imagery without permission.
If a company can outright sue me for doing the same to them, then so be it. the same level of protections for those assholes should be afforded to the individual as well.
Just like recent articles where independent musicians have caught the Music industry not paying them for their royalties or for the fair use of their music without agreeing to the terms of the original artist. I've already read about how the RIAA basically gives the big middle finger to the little unsigned bands. Even if they(RIAA) steal the music and sell it on compiled demo discs, the independent artists have the right to counter sue the industry for their copyrighted material.
The law in effect backfired for the RIAA and the music production companies that misused small band's materials. The law can't only be used by the big boys in the industry. which was why I jumped for joy when I read about a small band winning a court case to C&D a music publishers business because the company made thousands in profit but never paid a dime to the band.